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Semi-OT: 11-year-old violated grandparents' privacy via TikTok

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Nov 27, 2023, 11:18:59 AM11/27/23
I'm putting it here because some say that what the child did COULD lead to a burglary, by strangers. (But others say that's not how social media "works." I don't follow.)

Anyway, some of the comments caught my eye.

(Note: The word "yelled" in the URL is about a different letter.)

"Dear Amy: This seems minor, but here goes: My granddaughter is 11. She is spunky and smart. Precocious. Recently, she stayed with my husband and me for a few days. It was really a lot of fun.

"However — she was using her phone fairly constantly to film things, including us (of course), and our pets. Harmless stuff and I didn’t mind at all. Well … then I learned that she was posting a lot of these videos on TikTok. I learned this because she showed us.

"I was not happy about this — at all — and I sat with her and asked her to delete all of the videos she had posted that were filmed at our house. I watched as she did this. She’s upset, and my husband disagrees with my choice. Neither of us can decide whether to tell her mom (our daughter)."

— TikTok-ed Off

"TikTok-ed Off: You did the right thing. Your granddaughter needs to learn about privacy and consent. She also should not have a TikTok account (until she is 13). Yes, you should talk to her parents. They might not even realize she has an account.

"Their daughter is old enough (and probably clever enough) to create and post a feature-length film. However, she is not old enough or mature enough to understand concepts like risk, privacy and consent. This is how she will learn."


"When it comes to putting people online, basic etiquette should be to ask permission first. Or am I wrong?"

"We seem to have a whole generation, and maybe two, who have grown up thinking that social media is the same thing as real life, and have no concept of privacy for themselves. So, of course, they never think that anyone else might want privacy. Consent to post a picture or video? It will never occur to them to ask. Do take advantage of any opportunity to teach them."

Ellen in KC:
"LW2 - Having granddaughter delete the videos was fine... as long as it came with a loving short discussion that you just don't post photos or videos online without permission. And then make sure you have & are modeling the same behavior by never posting anything with grandchild without her permission too."

"That’s an excellent point. People often feel free to pass on videos and photos of kids, albeit to a more limited audience than TikTok."

"Indeed. Modeling is often far more powerful than telling, and granddaughter is clearly reaching an age where she wants control of her own image/narrative."

"This is a much better reply than the one re: LW2 that has more likes. Nobody is watching LW2's granddaughter's TikToks beyond a few people granddaughter knows; nobody is using it to "case" the interior of the home to plan a burglary. People who say that don't understand social media and they don't understand 11-year olds much either.

"But none of that matters here. What matters is how LW2 feels about it. And her feelings are what she should discuss with her granddaughter. Don't bother rationalizing it -- just say that you are uncomfortable with your granddaughter doing this and ask her to request permission before she does it again. Then absolutely treat her with the same courtesy.

"It's far more difficult to convince a teenager that her actions are OBJECTIVELY WRONG than it is to ask her to respect your SUBJECTIVE feelings."

Irene C. Troy:
"LW#2: I teach a class entitled 'Keeping Kids Safe in an Unsafe World.' A large part of keeping kids safe is teaching them how to keep themselves safe. This includes making good choices that strengthen rather than weaken esteem.

"Your Granddaughter is at a dangerous age: too old for mommy and daddy to solve every problem, too young to recognize potential risk. Tik-Tok, like all social media, is both good and bad. You and your GD's parents have an opportunity to help this 11 year-old learn about risk and reward of sharing anything personal online. You can sit down with your GD and talk to her about online predators and other dangers, while also talking about how social media helps her maintain touch with friends. In other words, sharing both the good and bad. Try not to lecture or demand she do what you think best. Instead, help her to understand her own needs versus the dangers of posting anything online. The goal of all of this is not to make your GD feel guilty or afraid, but rather to help add to her positive sense of self and ability to make wise choices.

"IMO, the goal of all safety training for kids should not be 'stranger danger' or 'go find an adult' but rather to teach skills for recognizing and responding to possible threats on their own and then when they need our help."

"I like this response.
On another level, I would think about how a precocious 11-year-old perhaps needs another outlet for her creative talents."

"But 11 is too young. Even officially. Brain development matters. Keeping kids safe also means keeping them off certain platforms, just as you don't just teach them how to respond and not respond to dangerous people on the street, but you allow don't allow them to wander dangerous neighborhoods alone. In this country, you can actually get into trouble in many places for letting an 11 yo play in the park alone, but they can go anywhere online-- maybe that's part of the problem."

"And grandparents need to embrace the videos and appreciate her interest in them. Put them on a thumb drive. Rave about how fun they were."

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